Certificate-of-need laws require health care providers to obtain government permission slip to open new facilities, add beds, or purchase important equipment, restricting access to vital services. While some states have repealed CON laws, a majority still have them on the books, including West Virginia.
This might strike residents as a strange standard for a state in which 53 of its 55 counties suffer health care shortages. But it is, nonetheless, the standard West Virginia employs. CON is needless and backwards, even in ideal circumstances, let alone the COVID-19 crisis we face.
Indeed, the Mercatus Center found that the quality, affordability, and accessibility of health care in West Virginia would be improved if the state were to repeal its CON law.
Under a CON law, the state protects one health care provider and inhibits other providers or services from competing with it in a given area. The result is that health care costs go up and access to critical services goes down.
To help face COVID-19, our Governor should use his emergency powers to indefinitely postpone CON.